19 thoughts on “What’s Behind the Narcissist’s Mask?

  • March 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Spot on, Dr. Neuharth!

    The article describes my late father, and especially my sister to a “T”. The latter could be the (adult) poster child for NPD.

  • March 12, 2019 at 6:37 am

    It’s appalling that Psychcentral continues to overwhelmingly publish posts that treat narcissists like enemies to be vanquished instead of sick members of the human family. Narcissistic personality disorder is rare, and yet from the abundance of posts, you’d think the average person encounters multiple NPD “villains” a day.

    • March 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      I don’t find that people with NPD are rare at all. In fact, after learning about the disorder, I am stunned at how many I know personally. I agree that it is a serious illness, but the only way we can fight it, generally, is by increasing awareness in the public arena. The damage people with NPD do in our society and around the world is significant, and NPD sufferers are mostly uninterested in accepting their illness, much less getting counseling to change their behavior.
      Some NPD sufferers have no clue that they are NPD sufferers, and worse, the situation is such that they would not know why. It is very sad, but the destruction for families, and especially their children, must be given serious attention. Here’s hoping awareness increases and that the help that might be available is taken advantage of sooner rather than later.

      • March 30, 2019 at 12:52 pm

        I don’t see an edit feature to add to my comment, so, I will use the reply feature.

        I would like to see more on how the narcissist is a also a bird who flocks with like birds. One narcissist I know seems to have a tight bond with other narcissists. This means being sympathetic to the other narcissist and taking the side of that person even over family members when there are conflicts. This is one way, once you know the traits of a narcissist, to identify them – birds of a feather flock together.

        Also, I would like to see more on the personal histories of narcissists. I believe one narcissist I knew was a victim of an incident with his Mother when he was 19 months old. He never had a chance. He never knew and was not, of course, able to turn his life around.

        Two other narcissists I know had to deal with serious levels of parental disapproval, bordering on rejection, during their growing-up years. Both were also dealing with being “middle” children. So, they grew up with a deep need for approval, and no skills for dealing with their issues.

      • April 10, 2019 at 1:53 pm

        Hi Karol,
        Thank you for posing your thoughtful questions. I agree, it would be helpful to have more personal stories and experiences from people with narcissism. Anything that helps a person with narcissism feel more connected and known and accepted, and that also helps others understand narcissism better, would be a valuable win-win.
        You are right in that among many people with narcissism, there is an early history of trauma and rejection. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite, where the history is one where a child is given an unrealistic and grandiose sense of self by a parent using that child to live out the parent’s unfulfilled dreams and needs.
        Narcissism can come in many forms, as I wrote about in my blog on 20 styles of narcissism.
        Thank you for your contribution to the community’s dialogue.
        Dan Neuharth, PhD MFT

      • April 7, 2019 at 7:54 am

        Its not an illness, its a disorder. A disfunctional behaviour as their personality is covering a damage suffered in the early childhood. But its not an illness

      • April 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm

        My apology for using the wrong term. I searched and found info regarding the common interchangeability of the terms, and I found a description of the difference between illness (mental illness) and disorder (mental disorders). My concern, in my reply, however, was intended to be a request for more information from the Dr.

    • May 31, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      You need to do more research. Narcissistic personalities are very terrible human beings and despicable vindictive people. I know!

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Do you get out much Dave . if you interact with a dozen people a day chances are 1 or 2 are N. True they are sick the bigger problem is the 5 or 6 usually close people that are negatively affected by the behavior of 1 N.

  • March 12, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Above outlines someone I tried to make a relationship with for 6 years. I once heard him say to a mate over the phone after having dinner with this mate & a few of the mate’s friends, how good it was having an audience! At 64 years of age, I couldn’t believe this man needed an audience! Yet along with the outline above, I had prior wondered if he at the very least he has a Narcissist personality. This man is charm until you say no or it isn’t going his way. Everything revolves around this man & to be a part of his life be prepared to compromise, it will always be you who will.

  • March 16, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    What are your thoughts in dealing with a narcissist who is alienating the kids from the other parent now that they are divorced? How does the alienated parent fix the broken relationships with the kids due to the narcissist lying to them about their other parent?

    • March 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Deanne,

      It can be so destructive to put children in the middle. Based on your description, the narcissistic person is doing just that. We can’t know the future but many times a child who has been alienated based on lies will eventually come to see the truth, and the relationship can change and even be healed. As hard as it may be, taking the high road — not bad mouthing anybody; listening openly; and responding honestly to any questions children have — may be best path for other adults in child’s lives. It models for children another way of being in the world that most narcissists are either incapable of or unwilling to pursue. Over time, that contrast is not lost on many children.

      Thanks for your question.


  • March 30, 2019 at 1:44 am

    I have been married to 2 narcissistics. I have recently discovered that I am codependent, not to my surprise. The grave feelings and bullshit the narcissist puts you through is not any feeling I would wish on anyone, even my worst enemy. These people are mean, selfish, destructive not only to their partners, but also their children, parents, siblings, or anyone “close” to them. They leave you scared for your life at times. They can also pretend to be your best friend, loving spouse. It sucks and no one should have to endure the mental anguish that the narcissist brings to your life. 😡😢

  • April 10, 2019 at 11:48 am

    From my point of view, yes narcissists must be avoided. They exploit. They love it when people feel sorry for them. I had to learn this the hard way. My former spouse told each of his girl friends, women he was using for sexual gratification while married to me and still having relations with me, the same lines. I could tell he was having yet another affair. They would say to me I was so lucky to have him. He treated me like animal fecal matter, so I didn’t understand it while it was all happening. The women fell apart when he broke up with them. He kept this up for 26 years and had me strung along. About 3 months after he left me, a friend at church talked to me about npd, and walked me through the process of healing. About 6 months later I got truly angry. It finally sunk in. None of it was real. I was set up, had three kids with this guy, and was never loved. He was not abused as a kid, so I don’t get what I needed to feel sorry for him. I cut him off completely, no contact. Every girlfriend he has had since he left he has also dumped. I feel bad for them. But I cannot do anything about it.

    • April 10, 2019 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you for sharing your personal journey. Your cautionary tale, humbly told, offers wisdom for anyone in a similar position.

  • April 19, 2019 at 7:28 am

    My siblings and I have taken on the yet unproductive task of calling out our mother after she verbally attacked another family member in a social media setting. Her responses have been viscious. She is gaslighting, denying any ownership of her behavior, and then telling us we all just need to forgive. She has made degrading remarks about my husband, my children, and siblings. She is sending us pictures of her garden and pretending she has not behaved horribly. I cannot even respond or react to her at this point. All we want is a healthy relationship with our mother, but, at this point, I will not continue to tolerate her abuse. Forgiveness is not the issue, it’s trust and boundaries.

  • April 25, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    I was told to read about Narcissists by a friend of my mother, I lived with her for 48 years, and gave up my life to take care of her for the past 4 years. I have been disowned by my sisters and brother, put down, and basically tossed away as not worthy of even a phone call. I was the only one of my mother’s children who took on the role of care giver, my mother was heavy and her physical body failed her, so I stepped up. I worked all my life, raised two children by myself, went to schools while working, I now have various certifications and licenses, that I don’t use. I married an abusive man who had low self esteem and used me as a ladder to better himself while I was left in tatters. My family seemed to take that as a cue to begin putting me down, and begin the destruction of all that I worked so hard to accomplish, even drove my lifelong friends away. I always thought it was me, that I must have done something?

  • June 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    One trait I have read about in other articles and definitions/descriptions is that narcissists drive wedges between a/any person(s) who represents a perceived threat to their credibility by saying negative things to that person’s family and friends, and others, with the intent of discrediting that person and destroying the other relationships. This is especially prevalent with divorces and parental alienation. It poses a huge problem for the non-narcissist — how do you address this issue without it looking like you are doing what the narcissist is doing? How do you protect yourself?

  • June 16, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    My last and final event with a narcissist…This happened April 2019 in northern pinellas county.
    Be Careful calling 911 if you are being battered in a domestic violence attack because most likely the officers responding to your plea for help are not trained to recognize who is the batterer or the victim, especially if any alcohol is involved. It all happened so fast. One minute I was fighting for my life and the next minute I was being handcuffed and taken to jail. The very people that are to serve and protect did exactly the opposite. I fully respect and understand why certain laws are made however even though they are intended to protect the victim it doesn’t always work that way….here is my story.
    My husband came home late one evening and realized that I had drank beer and in his disapproval I argued back with him and when I did he grabbed my hair and smashed my face against the wall then he proceeded to drag me by my hair on the floor from the bedroom to the family room where I was able to break free but he caught me and dislocated my shoulder, choked me and forcibly knelt on me with his hand pressing my face into the floor. I said I was sorry over and over until he let me go. At that point i grabbed my phone and I ran into the bathroom and called 911. Once he realized I’d called the police he broke several things in the house and staged it, put his clothes on then waited. When the officers knocked on the door he calmly let them in and I emerged from the bathroom, bloody nose, crying and all. One cop took me outside and the other stayed inside with him. After about 5 minutes of them listening to each of us they determined that I was inconsistent with my version and because I was drinking that I was the batterer and they handcuffed me and took me to jail. The officers were very young and obviously not experienced in domestic violence. My husband has a history of domestic abuse, I’ve called 911 before and they made him leave. He’s broken my bones, he’s hurt our pets and our son but yet this still happened. I spent 18 hours in jail because I called 911 for help. I was fitted with an alcohol ankle bracelet and had a restraining order so I couldn’t go home and I’ve spent 5000$ on attorneys fees, hotels, etc…the entire ordeal wasn’t resolved for 5 weeks and then the state attorney determined there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute me. This entire event has been more traumatic than anything ever in my life. I have ptsd, nightmares and I’m emotionally broken.
    There needs to be more training and awareness among law enforcement when it comes to domestic violence.
    I have left him but he’s still contacting me and asking me to come home and like most women in this situation you begin to believe their lies and I’m just hoping I can be strong enough to not go back. Since this happened I’ve read so many similar stories yet nothing has changed. How can women be protected by the law when the law enforcers aren’t educated????


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